PM directs automation, digitization to simplify procedures in construction sector

ISLAMABAD, August 13 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday at a review meeting on construction sector, directed the authorities to ensure automation, digitization and simplification of procedures to facilitate investors and general public.

The Prime Minister gave the directive while chairing the weekly meeting of National Coordinating Committee for Housing, Construction and Development that discussed Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) initiatives for construction sector, Balochistan’s construction projects, residential sector for overseas in capital and plot auctions in Islamabad’s Blue Area.

The Prime Minister lauded FBR’s initiative, aimed at facilitating the construction  sector and called for holding weekly webinars to spread awareness and coordination.

He welcomed the move by the government of Balochistan on tax reduction, however asked the provincial Chief Secretary for further cut on taxes to bring it at par with other provinces in a bid to ensure uniform tax rate for construction sector across the country.

Imran Khan directed for completion of all construction projects within the stipulated time-lines.

The Chairman FBR informed the Prime Minister that the FBR had introduced an online registration system for construction projects, developers and builders to facilitate the taxpayers. The awareness for public is being raised through media and webinars.

He said 40 projects had been registered so far and work on registration of 4,812 projects was underway.

The Chief Secretary Balochistan informed the meeting that in light with the Prime Minister’s instructions, the duration for approval of No Objection Certificates in construction sector had been reduced to 20 days.

He said sales tax for contractors and property developers had been reduced to Rs 60 per square yard for residential schemes and Rs 50 per square yard for commercial schemes. Other areas of tax reduction include stamp duty, Capital Value Tax (CVT) and transfer tax.

About housing schemes in Balochistan, the Chief Secretary said currently 79 residential schemes were under consideration in Gwadar, covering an area of 14,000 acres, while NOCs had been approved for 104 projects.

Among the government projects, 714 units and 600 apartments will be constructed under Kachlak housing project, he said.

In addition, MoUs have been signed for residential projects in Quetta, Ormara, Pasni and Gwadar and sites have been identified.

The Chief Secretary Balochistan also briefed the meeting about housing schemes for low-income people under Naya Pakistan Housing Authority.

The Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) gave briefing about the residential sector Park Enclave 3 in the capital for overseas Pakistanis and the auction plots located in Blue Area to be held in September.

He also submitted to Prime Minister the proposal on significant reduction of taxes on additional construction in the Blue Area.

The representatives of business community, attending the meeting, said for the first time in country’s history, the government had provided such facilities for construction sector.

They expressed confidence that the initiatives would not only encourage investors and the business community, but would also boost economic activity.

The Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority, Governor State Bank and leading businessmen including Arif Habib, Aqeel Karim Dhedi, Mohsin Sheikhani and Hassan Bakhshi attended the meeting. The Chief Secretaries joined the meeting through video link.

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